Chapter 72 – I Love You
This was the very first time Petronilla had done something like this, and she shifted awkwardly. She snuck a glance at Rothesay, who was walking quietly by her side with a smile on his face. The sunlight cast a glow about him like a halo.
“Is there something on my face, my lady?” Rothesay asked.
“Ah, no,” Petronilla hastily replied, flustered. “You’re dressed so well today, I was simply admiring your outfit.”
“I am glad it is to your liking, My Lady,” he said with a sigh of relief. “I worried quite a lot over whether you were interested in me or not…”
“…If I was not, then I would not be here with you”
“Thank you, My Lady.” Rothesay then asked her kindly, “Is there anything in particular that you would like to do?”
“Something I’d like to do?” she repeated.
“I plan to spend the entire day with you. I’d like to do everything that you would like to do.”
“Oh…” Petronilla slightly panicked, not realizing that she would be the one to decide how the date would go. “To be frank… I never thought about it,” she murmured helplessly.
“Oh dear, I see,” Rothesay said regretfully. “Then please try thinking of it now, but don’t get too concerned over it.”
“Isn’t there anything you would like to do?”
“Did I not tell you?” A smile appeared on Rothesay’s charming face. “I’m happy to do anything together with you, My Lady.”
“So long as I’m with you, nothing else matters to me.”
This man is quite shameless. Did he learn this from someone? As Petronilla thought this, her expression brightened.
“Sir,” she called.
“Yes, My Lady. Please speak.”
“I have something that I’d like to do.”
“Anything you desire, My Lady.”
A wicked smile spread on Petronilla’s face. “I’d like to go see a duel.”
“…A duel?” Rothesay reiterated, completely taken aback.
Petronilla nodded. “Yes, a duel.”
“A duel where two people wield swords and fight…?”
“Yes, that kind of duel,” Petronilla confirmed laughingly. “The one where they fight to the death.”
In actuality, Petronilla had never seen a duel, and she never understood how nobles could go watch such meaningless slaughter for fun. However, this was the perfect solution for her situation. After all, who could ever like a brutal and barbaric woman? A smile spread on Petronilla’s face, thinking her plan was a success. However, there was one thing that she had overlooked…
“My Lady, are you alright?”
“AAAAH! H-How…how could I ever be alright?!”
She couldn’t stand gladiator fights. It hadn’t even been 10 minutes since they entered the stadium, and she already wanted to leave. But if she were to say that, her lie would be discovered. Ah, wait. Wouldn’t that be alright, too? …No, then every time she ran into this man, she would be uncomfortable beyond belief. Petronilla changed her mind.
“Are you alright, my lady? Truly?” However, Rothesay didn’t seem to notice. “If you are not, we can leave, my lady.”
“But…” Petronilla wasn’t able to protest a second time. “You’ve already paid the entrance fee. It’d be a waste…” she said helplessly.
Rothesay couldn’t help but go crazy at how adorable she was. “Let’s leave, My Lady.”
“But your money…”
“I have a lot of it. It’s fine.”
Without asking for permission, Rothesay swept her up into his arms and began walking. This attracted the attention of the people around them. Petronilla looked like she was going to die of embarrassment and she squeezed her eyes shut.
“What are you doing? We are in public!” she hissed fiercely.
“We’re currently on a date, so it’s fine. Everyone will understand.”
…In actuality, the men around them were glaring as if they wanted to throw them down onto the dueling grounds, but Petronilla didn’t see as her eyes were still closed. After reassuring her, Rothesay leaned over her and whispered into her ear.
“Please wait a little longer. We’ll be out in a bit.”
Petronilla kept her eyes closed and said nothing. A little while later, an ear-splitting cheer roared around them. One of the gladiators must have been killed. Why on earth do people find this fun? Petronilla scowled with her eyes closed.
“Think of this as a banquet hall instead,” Rothesay’s voice said in her ear.
“And there are a variety of sweet desserts strewn across the table.”
Imagining that seemed to calm her down a little bit. Just when she was bringing the brownie that she couldn’t finish at the National Founding Festival up to her lips, she could feel the bright rays of the sun on her. Petronilla finally opened her eyes to Rothesay’s own brown orbs, which were sweeter than any chocolate in a brownie.
“Ah…” she gasped involuntarily.
“It’s alright now, My Lady.”
“…Thank you,” Petronilla said self-consciously. “I…I think it’s fine to let me down now.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Why?” Petronilla asked, taken aback at his answer.
“I am not going to let you down.”
“Please, sir, I’m horribly embarrassed.”
Everyone on the street was staring at them. Petronilla didn’t want this attention.
“Please hurry and let me down,” she urged.
“Only if you would please call me by my name once,” Rothesay proposed, a cheeky smile on his face. “Please, just once.”
How cheap. Petronilla sighed inwardly before calling out a single name.
“Thank you, Petronilla.”
After slyly calling her by her own name, Rothesay let her feet down on the ground. Petronilla still hadn’t fully registered that he had called her by her name, and she wore a flushed, dazed expression. Now she felt like a liar from what happened earlier.
When she slightly turned her head to steal a glance, she found Rothesay already looking at her. His affection-sick eyes overwhelmed her.
“W-What is it…?” she stammered.
“I know what you were intending to do.”
“You are quite adorable.”
“…I don’t believe that’s the proper reaction to what I did.”
“My lady, you are terrible at lying,” Rothesay said while smiling kindly. “Please do not worry, My Lady. I will never tire of you or be disappointed in you. I swear it on the Bradington family’s honor.”
“I will never throw away my feelings for you for as long as you allow me to have them. I can also swear this.”
“Why?” Petronilla asked, her tone slightly sad. “Why would you go so far?”
“The answer is simple, Lady Petronilla.” With a tender smile, Rothesay confessed to her.
“Because I love you.”
“Mirya,” Patrizia called quietly. The lady-in-waiting hurried over upon hearing her name.
“Yes, Your Majesty. You called?”
“Yes. There’s something I need you to do.”
Patrizia gave a quiet smile before asking her favor.
“Would you send a bouquet of 100 roses to Bain Palace? Make sure to choose splendidly beautiful flowers that match the owner and wrap them up nicely.”
“Pardon me, Your Majesty?” Mirya exclaimed, her eyes wide. “What is the meaning of this? Are you not feeling well?”
“I’m sorry, Mirya, but I’m very much healthy.”
“No, Your Majesty. I’m certain that you’ve fallen ill.” Mirya, who was usually composed, had no choice but to work up a fuss from this recent development. “Why roses? Not to mention a hundred of them?! Is it really that strange for me to react this way?”
“No, it’s quite normal,” Patrizia said, the ends of her lips curling up into a grin. “It’s extremely normal behavior.”
Then are you saying that you’re not normal, Your Majesty? Mirya thought to herself. As if she knew what Mirya was thinking, Patrizia laughed merrily.
“That’s right, Mirya. That’s the reaction that I wanted. You’re most certainly my loyal subject.”
“Now, hurry and prepare that bouquet. That way, Marchioness Ethylaire will be pleased.”
Thinking that there was definitely something wrong with the Queen, Mirya exited the room with a stunned expression. Even after Miyra left, Patrizia continued to hum as if nothing was wrong as she flipped another page of the book she was reading—a tragedy in which the villain killed the heroine.
Petronilla and Rothesay decided to compromise by spending the remainder of their date peacefully. After leaving the dueling arena, they headed to the marketplace. As she enjoyed shopping, Petronilla was pleased with Rothesay’s suggestion, but she worried whether Rothesay wouldn’t enjoy it as much as she did.
“Sir,” Petronilla called out.
“Yes, My Lady. Please speak.”
“Is this really alright with you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Shopping like this… are you okay with browsing the marketplace?” Petronilla asked hesitantly. “Generally, men don’t enjoy things like shopping…”
“What’s important isn’t whether men generally like or dislike shopping,” he said. His smiling eyes reassured the nervous Petronilla. “What’s important is that I enjoy being able to shop with you together, My Lady.”
He definitely learned this from someone, and it was definitely from a complete casanova. Petronilla willed herself to not be swayed by his tactics as she continued ahead. Behind her, Rothesay smiled, delighted.
Of course, Petronilla took the lead in browsing through the various stalls. If it were any other man, he would have been disinterested or even annoyed at having to go through women’s jewelry or other luxury items. But from what Petronilla could tell, Rothesay seemed to enjoy it all. She didn’t know whether he really was happy with just being with her or whether he was putting on an act to win over her heart. If it was the latter, then it only proved that Rothesay had the patience of a saint.
She spent the past three hours walking nonstop through the marketplace in an attempt to drop him. Despite that, Rothesay followed her, completely unconcerned and not uncomfortable in the slightest. He even gave his opinions and advice on the items she picked out.
This suits you, or I feel something else would be better for you, or This color looks much nicer on you than the other…
It was the words of someone who was quite used to outings like this. In the end, a somewhat suspicious Petronilla couldn’t help but question him.
“How are you so proficient?”
“At shopping with a woman?”
“Oh dear.” He shook his head as if something was wrong before replying immediately. “Your words hold a grave mistake, my lady.”
“A grave mistake?”
“You are not just ‘a woman.’” Rothesay continued earnestly. “You are the one I love.”
“Not just ‘a woman’,” he repeated.
“…I understand.” Petronilla continued walking down the street. He really was one to leave her speechless.
Just when she started feeling the ache in her legs and thinking there was nothing else left to see, something caught her eye.
“Wow.” Petronilla couldn’t help but exclaim in awe, and Rothesay naturally looked towards what caught her attention. Upon seeing what it was, a look of surprise crossed his face.
“Isn’t that a crystal ball?”
“It seems so.”
With a child-like curiosity, Petronilla stepped towards the street stall, Rothesay following her from behind. She inspected the crystal ball that was colored like the night sky. Considering how intently Petronilla looked at it, Rothesay was about to offer to buy the crystal ball for her when the street vendor’s words interrupted him.
“You’re a young lady who’s afraid of a future that has yet to come.”